By Melissa Hincha-Ownby on March 16, 2011

Does your municipality accept lids and caps for curbside recycling? The ability to process these materials is increasing after years of wasting.
The Woes of Lid Recycling
Did you know that you might not be able to recycle plastic lids curbside? It’s true: In many places you need to remove the lids from plastic bottles, milk jugs and glass bottles prior to recycling.

The good news is that recyclers are beginning to accept lids and bottle caps for recycling, even curbside, with increasing frequency. So, if curbside lid recycling isn’t available in your area yet, don’t despair, as it may only be a matter of time before you can keep the lid on your milk jug and just toss it in the recycling container.

Now that you know lids can’t always be recycled, you may be wondering why. There are several factors at play, including the fact that the material lids are made out of can’t always be recycled with its container.

If a plastic lid accidentally gets recycled, it could actually contaminate a batch of recycled plastic, rendering it useless. Another factor to consider is that small lids can clog some equipment, creating a headache for employees and sometimes shutting down the recycling process until the jam is cleared.

So, what are you supposed to do with all of your plastic lids? Simple: Save them until your next trip to your local Whole Foods store and drop them off there. Aveda salons also accept many types of lids and caps. If you don’t have a Whole Foods or Aveda location in your area, search the recycling location finder for a drop-off location that accepts plastic #5, the material that most plastic lids are made of.

A quick search of my neighborhood revealed several locations that accept plastic lids on a drop-off basis, including city libraries, city-owned recycling centers, a recreation center and even an elementary school.

I’m lucky, though, as my curbside recycling program accepts plastic caps as part of its single-stream recycling center. However, Chandler, AZ, where I will be moving to in a few months, does not. So, I will have to collect my caps in a separate container and drop them off for processing — a minor inconvenience until Chandler’s system can accept plastic lids.

About the author

Melissa Hincha-Ownby is a freelance writer based in Arizona. She writes about a variety of environmental topics, including green business, green building, eco-friendly vehicles, the importance of a green economy and raising two eco-conscious children.


In addition to writing about the environment, Melissa's other writing passion is special needs parenting. As the mother of two children with special health care needs, she knows the importance of providing support and information to other families on a similar parenting journey.

Learn more about Melissa Hincha-Ownby


There are no comments for this post yet

Articles by Melissa Hincha-Ownby

Metal Water Bottles: The Good and the Bad

By Melissa Hincha-Ownby on June 28, 2011

Finding a safe, durable, recyclable reusable water bottle is the first step in conserving more resources this summer.

Old Refrigerators Transformed into Art

By Melissa Hincha-Ownby on June 23, 2011

Utility companies are taking to eye-catching public art to promote their appliance recycling programs.

Arizona City Commits to Green Building

By Melissa Hincha-Ownby on June 15, 2011

The suburban setting of Chandler may seem like an unlikely place for eco-innovation, but this city is miles ahead of its neighbors when it comes to conservation.

Recycling Articles

How to Recycle Nylon

By Sophia Bennett on November 25, 2014

Durable nylon, found in everything from clothing and carpets, to bags and tents, can be recycled through certain takeback programs.

How to Recycle Dry-Cleaning Bags

By Sophia Bennett on November 18, 2014

Dry-cleaning bags, made of hard-to-recycle plastic film, are best avoided.

Recycle Clothes for the Planet This America Recycles Day

By Wendy Gabriel on November 11, 2014

Now through November 15, Planet Aid is collecting clothing for recycling across the U.S.

Current News

Recycling Profile: Bangor, ME

By 1-800-RECYCLING on November 21, 2014

Bangor's zero-sort recycling program collects recyclables biweekly across the city of 30,000-plus.

Recycling Profile: Fort Wayne, IN

By 1-800-RECYCLING on November 14, 2014

Fort Wayne's one-cart recycling program, though voluntary for residents, has proven to be a huge hit.

Recycling Profile: Hilo, HI

By 1-800-RECYCLING on November 7, 2014

The largest city on "The Big Island" is the center of a network of facilities that helps inhabitants recycle just about anything.